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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 22, 1997

Wendell Stephenson
Pages 461-476

The Love of God and Neighbor in Simone Weil’s Philosophy

Simone Weil recognized that there is a problem reconciling the Iove of God/Good with the Iove of neighbor, and she probabIy believed that she never successfully resoIved it. A quotation from her ‘New York Notebook’ sets the probIem niceIy: OnIy God is the good, therefore, onIy He is a worthy object of care, solicitude, anxiety, longing, and efforts of thought. OnIy He is a worthy object of all those movements of the souI which are reIated to some vaIue. From this and other quotes, I construct various arguments showing that one cannot consistently both Iove God and one’s neighbor. The buIk of the paper is taken up with a critical consideration of these arguments. The upshot of this is that there is no pIausibIe way to reject all of these arguments; hence one must tentativeIy conclude that the Iove of God/Good is irreconciIabIe with the Iove of neighbor in Weil’s philosophy.

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